BANGOR – The trial against a local transient accused of killing two homeless people by arson one year ago began Tuesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center.
Surveillance cameras from several businesses within the Penobscot Plaza are playing a role in the double murder and arson trial of John De St. Croix, 26.
He is charged with setting fire to a box truck parked underneath the Penobscot Bridge with Michael Bridges and Desiree York inside.
The prosecutor said, the couple died of smoke inhalation and second- and third-degree thermal burns.
“Desiree and Michael were pounding on the walls of that box truck and yelled for ‘Help,’” said Leanne Zainea, assistant attorney general. “This man stood with his arms crossed in front of his body and watched the fire from a distance. Watched that fire for 33 seconds.”
“Who was that man with his arms crossed in front of him, watching as the flames grew and grew,” Zainea asked later. “This man right here — John De St. Croix.”
The jury was taken by bus to the fire scene. Superior Court Justice Ann Murray had a list of 16 items she pointed out to jury members, which included surveillance cameras all over the plaza.
“Sometimes what you see isn’t half as important as what you don’t see. Half as important it’s not half as important as what you are not shown,” Defense attorney David Bate told the jury.
“What the videos are not going to show you is what’s happening outside the camera view,” he added later.
Bate told the jury that none of the cameras caught the start of the fire and that several other homeless people were sleeping in the area.
Prosecutors started their case by asking witnesses to point out De St. Croix in the surveillance videos, and images caught on police cruisers.
Family members and friends of the two victims were in the courtroom, including the older brother of Bridges.
“I’m just waiting for it to be over,” Mark Bridges said on the front steps of the courthouse.
The trial is expected to last a week.